COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
COVID-19 (Coronavirus; CDC graphic)

It’s time for anoth­er install­ment of of our spe­cial series COVID-19 Update, bring­ing you the lat­est devel­op­ments on the nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break that pub­lic health author­i­ties here and across the coun­try are work­ing to mitigate.


Ear­li­er today, Seat­tle & King Coun­ty Health Offi­cer Dr. Jeff Duchin issued a pub­lic health direc­tive requir­ing every­one to wear face cov­er­ings indoors and out­doors when phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing is difficult.

Metro will require the use of masks by oper­a­tors and rid­ers at all times. (Sound Tran­sit has not yet declared such a pol­i­cy, but if they do, it will like­ly be post­ed here.) This direc­tive will take effect on Mon­day, May 18th.

Peo­ple who have been com­plain­ing about busi­ness­es vio­lat­ing Gov­er­nor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, as a mea­sured relax­ation of the stay at home order is imple­ment­ed, have had their names and con­tact info pub­lished on Face­book, which in turn has result­ed in harass­ment and death threats against them.

One of these Face­book posts was cre­at­ed by the Wash­ing­ton Three Per­centers, which is one of an array of far right groups that, per the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, “advo­cate or adhere to extreme antigov­ern­ment doc­trines.”

This hap­pened in the midst of demon­stra­tions of approx­i­mate­ly 1,500 peo­ple in Olympia against Gov­er­nor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, which is less than the 2,000 to 2,500 that demon­strat­ed in Olympia last month.


On Wednes­day, May 6th, ten church­es from across the state of Ore­gon and twen­ty-one indi­vid­u­als, made up of pas­tors, staff and con­gre­gants, filed a law­suit against Gov­er­nor Kate Brown’s State of Emer­gency order, declar­ing that it “at least implic­it­ly lim­its plain­tiffs’ free exer­cise of reli­gion,” which is pro­tect­ed by the First Amend­ment of the US con­sti­tu­tion and Arti­cle 1 of the Ore­gon Constitution.

The suit was filed by the Pacif­ic Jus­tice Insti­tute, which the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter has declared is an anti-LGBT group that “…com­pared legal­ized gay mar­riage to Hitler and the Nazis’ ascent in Ger­many; endorsed so-called ‘repar­a­tive’ or sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion con­ver­sion ther­a­py; claimed mar­riage equal­i­ty would lead to legal polygamy and incest; fought against pro­tec­tions for trans chil­dren and fab­ri­cat­ed a sto­ry of harass­ment by a trans stu­dent; and said that LGBT His­to­ry Month pro­motes gay pornog­ra­phy to children.”

The next day, on May 7th, Elkhorn Bap­tist Church in Salem filed a motion for a tem­po­rary restrain­ing order against Gov­er­nor Kate Brown’s stay at home order, declar­ing that it infringes on their reli­gious free­dom to congregate.

Said Salem-based attor­ney Ray D. Hacke, who filed the tem­po­rary restrain­ing order Thurs­day: “If we’re risk­ing our lives to go to church, if we sur­vive, great… If we die, then we’re going to heav­en. If we want to take that risk, then it’s on us.” (This ignores the pos­si­bil­i­ty that church mem­bers may become asymp­to­matic and pass the nov­el coro­n­avirus to non-par­tic­i­pants in church services.)

The Ore­gon Health Author­i­ty on Sat­ur­day, May 9th, empha­sized pub­licly an FDA guid­ance issued on May 7th, revok­ing autho­riza­tion for more than six­ty-five of the eighty known man­u­fac­tur­ers of KN95 res­pi­ra­tors, cit­ing poor qual­i­ty, and remind­ing med­ical pro­fes­sion­als not use them in the per­for­mance of their duties. KN95 res­pi­ra­tors are made exclu­sive­ly in Chi­na, but are not required to be test­ed by NIOSH (Nation­al Insti­tute for Occu­pa­tion­al Safe­ty and Health), as N95 res­pi­ra­tors must be to receive such a designation.

This is the present list of approved res­pi­ra­tors by the FDA as of May 7th.


A non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tion, Crush the Curve, has been offer­ing free anti­body tests to assess, test and trace for peo­ple who have had COVID-19 or are asymptomatic.

So far, Crush the Curve has been pro­mot­ing the results of test­ing in east­ern Ida­ho, where it has declared a low num­ber of peo­ple that have had or do have the nov­el coronavirus.

There has been con­tro­ver­sy regard­ing anti­body test­ing for this spe­cif­ic virus.

The qual­i­ty of many such tests is high­ly ques­tion­able, it doesn’t always catch ear­ly infec­tions in progress, and inter­pret­ing the results can require sub­tle­ty at a time when the White House and oth­er enti­ties want such tests to be a quick means of pro­vid­ing evi­dence that most peo­ple can go back to work.

The tests used via the Crush the Curve cam­paign are avail­able through the Virol­o­gy Depart­ment at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton, which in turn were made by Abbott Labs. While they appear to have a reli­ably high accu­ra­cy rate, and while the FDA grant­ed, on May 11th, an emer­gency use autho­riza­tion for the test, some con­tro­ver­sy exists regard­ing the avail­abil­i­ty of these tests in oth­er areas, such as in the state of Washington.

The hard, cold numbers

Wash­ing­ton state has had 17,890 cas­es and 953 attrib­ut­able deaths.

248,875 peo­ple have been tested.

Ore­gon has had 3,286 cas­es and 130 attrib­ut­able deaths.

77,542 peo­ple have been tested.

Ida­ho has had 2,260 cas­es and 70 attrib­ut­able deaths.

31,961 peo­ple have been tested.

British Colum­bia has had 2,353 cas­es and 130 attrib­ut­able deaths.

111,498 peo­ple have been tested.

Adjacent posts

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